World

Pope accepts resignation of USA bishop accused of sexual harassment

Pope accepts resignation of USA bishop accused of sexual harassment

The announcement was made as the pope was meeting U.S. Catholic Church leaders to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff steps down.

Francis' key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, a day before Francis meets with US church leaders who have been discredited anew by the latest accusations in the Catholic Church's decades-long sex abuse and cover-up scandal.

A Vatican spokesperson said the meeting of the heads of national Catholic bishops conferences would take place February 21-24.

The report cited 301 priests, clergy and lay teachers with credible allegations of child sexual abuse against them.

Pope Francis met with United States bishops and cardinals on Thursday (Sep 13) to discuss the Vatican's response to a new wave of devastating claims of sexual abuse by clergy. Protocols for dealing with abuse in the church vary wildly from country to country.

DiNardo also said recent accusations that top Vatican officials - including the current pope - covered up for McCarrick since 2000 deserve answers.

In 2011, as part of Pope Benedict XVI's attempts to take a tougher stand against sexual misconduct, the Vatican ordered the bishops' conferences to develop written guidelines on preventing abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

While most conferences obliged, some have not.

Wuerl submitted his resignation three years ago, but stayed on working at the Vatican's request.

The Pope
Francis’ papacy has been thrown into crisis by the issue

The U.S. isn't alone in digging into its past.

The Catholic Church is facing sexual abuse scandals in the United States, Chile, Australia and Germany, among others.

No details were given on what exactly was discussed at the meeting or what the US church plans to do.

Among those in the firing line following the release of the report is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, who was accused of mishandling abuse cases while he was Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Last month, the Vatican expressed "shame and sorrow" over the sexual abuse of at least 1,000 children by more than 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

The report was commissioned by the German bishops' conference and scheduled to be presented September 25 at the autumn plenary session of the German bishops, as CNA Deutsch reported.

Bransfield also stated that the witnesses' statement regarding abuse by Fr. Gana taking place at the beach house he owned in Brigantine, N.J., is "misleading" because it fails to mention that he allowed many people to use his home and that he was neither present nor aware of the incident.

After the allegations against McCarrick were publicised in June, it emerged that it was apparently an open secret - including at the Vatican - and that he routinely molested seminarians and young priests and harassed them.





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